My name is Walter, I was born and raised in Huntington Park and moved to Venezuela when I was seven with my mom. I left L.A. to become a New York Times writer. As I grew and changed L.A., I heard, was also changing.
I moved back to my Tia's House in Huntington Park, two years ago, to take care of her mostly, the same house that I was raised in. Every time I leave this neighborhood, I feel like an outsider and like someone who doesn't belong. All the rumors that I've heard, I'm seeing are now true. The Cork in Midcity [closed] Cha Cha Cha in East Hollywood [closed] La Fiesta Brava in Venice [closed]. But I'm back now. In L.A. Something happened to you while I was gone.
I try to go back to Venice every Sunday where I lived as a teenager and the Venice that I knew, full of black and brown people, beautiful black and brown people, has now changed. And you know what? Damn, everywhere you turn there are Tech Bros. Every place I traveled to, I praised you, I showed you love and I spoke so highly of you, L.A. You were supposed to withstand gentrification, but instead, you embraced it. Your neighborhoods don't really look like they did anymore.
There's a lot more white people and less people who look like me here. You're really flawed, you're not a perfect city. There's so many things that you have to work on, like how you treat your homeless, access to public transportation, providing more affordable housing, how we treat people of color in this city. I'll stop here, but I could go on. I know it's complicated, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be. And I'm not the only one who feels this way about you, because even though you sometimes feel like a stranger to me, I still really, really love you.
I do. And I want to show everyone why.
Most of my life, I've lived here in Compton, and I never knew this was here.
Probably get to 800, if not over a thousand parrots here, within the next ten minutes.
I was like "How do you dress?" And he's like, "you know, like a casual gangster?" And I was like [laughter].
And I said, Mijo, look, look! Los cowboys. They're are black cowboys.
I want everyone to see who you are to me. This is California life, and I'm Walter. Listen to California Love I, heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcast.